No. 1 Maryland (14-0) vs. No. 4 Loyola (10-2)

Site: Ludwig Field, College Park

Time: 7

Outlook: Until last week, this game figured to be a showdown between the nation's hottest two teams. Then Loyola lost two games. The setbacks to Virginia (7-6 in sudden-death) and James Madison (9-8) sent the Greyhounds tumbling from the No. 2 spot. Instead of vying for the top ranking, Loyola finds itself in a battle to be one of four teams to be host to an NCAA opening-round tournament game.

The Terrapins, who have never lost to Loyola, have no such worries; their come-from-behind, 11-10 victory over Virginia in the ACC tournament championship game was their 50th consecutive victory, including two NCAA titles.

Both teams come into tonight's game with highly regarded midfields. Maryland's Australian connection, Sarah Forbes (40 goals, 31 assists) and Sasha Newmarch (30, nine), has been tough to stop. Forbes was named ACC Player of the Year and Newmarch was MVP of the ACC tournament after scoring four goals, including the game-winner, against Virginia.

Loyola's Michelle Meyer (27, 18) and Kerri Johnson (28, four) have been the heart of its midfield. Meyer was named CAA Player of the Year, as well as tournament MVP. Both teams also have balanced line attacks -- Maryland's is led by Cathy Nelson (30, 20) and Loyola's by Allison Valentino (16, 14).

Pub Date: 4/22/97

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